Better late than never. This happened last week. Chris Matthews went on a great rant about, Why did we go to war in Iraq? Why? He mentions neoconservative ideas, but he doesn't dare bring up the elephant in the room, the Israel lobby. Still this is a start, to get unhinged about a fraud:
MATTHEWS: You know, I argued against the war because I was skeptical from day one about the case they made for nuclear weapons. And now it turns out they don‘t even make the case anymore. Here‘s Rumsfeld with his big tome, admitting in it that they didn‘t have—they had no—we‘re going to get to all the facts but we did it last night—no evidence of any purchases of nuclear weapons, no evidence of any attempt to purchase, and no evidence of any construction of nuclear weapons. Zero nuclear weapons, simply the possibility that he intended at some point to do that and then to find out that the director of intelligence is basically saying all the evidence they had is imprecise. And then, today, we get the report, the curve ball, talk about the aluminum tubes or whatever, that he was lying just to get whatever he wanted because he hated Saddam. No evidence. It‘s almost the most purest form of dishonesty. And I have to wonder—did they know they were doing this? Bush, Condi, Powell, Cheney, the rest of them—why didn‘t they get this fact there was no intel?
FRED KAPLAN, SLATE: There‘s a phrase—there‘s a phrase about a prosecutor who tries to frame a guilty man. You know, I think they thought, well, of course, Saddam has nuclear weapons. Why wouldn‘t he have nuclear weapons? There haven‘t been any inspectors there for five years. He did it before. Why wouldn‘t he do it again? The CIA keeps saying, oh, no, we don‘t have any intelligence, but we don‘t believe the CIA. So, let‘s pull together, cherry-picked information -- from the raw intel files and construct a case that they may have it. And remember Dick Cheney‘s idea about the 1 percent factor?
MATTHEWS: Yes. But they didn‘t have 1 percent.
KAPLAN: I don‘t even—well, you can‘t even calculate these things because, you know, 50 percent of zero is still zero, right?
MATTHEWS: Why isn‘t this on the front page of “The New York Times”, lies?
ISIKOFF: -- to have the senior— intelligence officer in the Pentagon telling the secretary that we may know nothing about Iraq‘s intelligence programs. And, of course, in the book, what Rumsfeld does is he falls back and quotes the NIE, the NIE that the CIA had coordinated and put together that said that they did have nuclear weapons, that suggested they did have a nuclear program. What he omits is—
MATTHEWS: No, no. He quotes, although we assess—this is from the NIE report of October 2002, “Although we assess that Saddam does not have - - does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them.” It‘s intent.
KAPLAN: Artfully worded.
MATTHEWS: OK, guys, you went to grade school. I went to grade school. We all studied the causes of war. And they would say the immediate causes of war were one was assassination of Archduke Ferdinand or something, or the sinking—back to the sinking of the Maine, or whatever Spanish Civil War. Fred, we always had an argument given to us in school why there were wars. How in the world are you going to be able to explain this war to students coming along? What does a teacher say in a good school right now? Why did we go to war? Because somebody said they had nuclear weapons that they weren‘t supposed to have them under some decree that we put down after they lost the first war. Oh, do we have evidence they had nuclear weapons? Well, we thought they had the intention maybe of doing it. Therefore, we went over there and killed 100,000 Iraqis, 4,500 of our guys were killed, 30,000 of our people were wound, because we thought they might want to do this. How can you write that in a history book?
KAPLAN: Well, remember, Rumsfeld even goes further than you‘re suggesting. In his book, he says, well, you know, I never really put it on nuclear weapons. I thought we should go war for other reasons. But, by the way, he then quotes—he then quotes it, there‘s one piece of evidence he can‘t evade that after we were occupying the place for a while, somebody at a press conference said, where are the nuclear weapons? And he said, well, I—we know where they are. They are outside of Tikrit, in Baghdad.
KAPLAN: In the book he says, well, I wasn‘t talking about nuclear weapons. I was talking about suspect sites. Well, you know, by this time, everybody knew about the suspect sites. They are wondering where are the weapons.
MATTHEWS: This is—this is beyond—I just look at Bush. I think, some day, we‘re going to find out this guy under sodium pentothal, his last memoir when he‘s 90 years old, he‘s going to write, I admit, my reason for going to Iraq had something to do with the fact—well, I thought this would be a good way to spread democracy, and so, the big neocon argument. Or they shot my daddy or they‘re trying to kill my daddy, or some other reason. I don‘t know what Cheney‘s reasons are going to be.
...Condi Rice, if you‘re watching, Condoleezza Rice, you‘re a great person, I think. Why don‘t you raise hell about being used? Colin Powell, why don‘t you raise hell about being used? And, Cheney, you‘re hopeless. I don‘t expect any help from you. But I‘d like to hear from the good people in that administration, when they were talking about mushroom clouds with no evidence whatever. None. We went to war for no reason except they wanted to go to war. Last thought, Fred, quickly. KAPLAN: You know, Rumsfeld created a special office. It was called the Office of Special Plans. MATTHEWS: I know.
KAPLAN: They went into raw intelligence files. This was more about links between Saddam and al Qaeda. They picked out bits of raw intel that seemed to suggest they were there. The GAO, afterwards, criticized the outfit and said this was illegal, policy outfits were not supposed to be disseminating intelligence, and not a word of this is mentioned in Rumsfeld‘s book.
MATTHEWS: I know, it‘s going to be a cake walk, 100,000 dead people.
Chris you are a smart political mind; ask George W. Bush what he learned from the last one-term presidents, Jimmy Carter and his father; ask him what political lines they had crossed to end their White House careers?
And yes the fact that Matthews's panel is Fred Kaplan and Mike Isikoff is a reflection of the new Democratic establishment, one that is not yet prepared to do the hard work of reflecting on Jewish political identity and how Zionism swept that community as a messianic deliverance dream. Has either of these guys ever written about the Israel lobby as a real force in Jewish life, let alone American life? Note that this week the State Department replaced the late Richard Holbrooke with Marc Grossman and appointed a new ambassador to Israel named Dan Shapiro. I would say that it is naive not to think that these Jewish names are intended to placate a Democratic Party political establishment that is largely Jewish. A signal that nothing will be done to rock the boat. Matthews knows this better than anyone. He will talk about it some day when the Establishment is more diverse.